The Heart of Robin Hood will begin performances Nov. 17, prior to an official opening Dec. 1, for a continuous run through Jan. 7, 2012. Written by RSC associate director David Farr, it will be directed by Gisli Örn Gardarsson of Iceland's Vesturport Theatre Company. It tells the tale of the notorious Robin Hood and his band of outlaws, who rob from the rich, but fail to share with the poor. It is down to Marion to convince Robin to listen to his heart if they are to save the country from the wicked King John who plots to steal his brother’s crown.
It will be followed by a new production of The Taming of the Shrew, beginning performances Jan. 19, prior to an official opening Jan. 25, for a run to Feb. 18, prior to a six-week national tour of the U.K. Lucy Bailey, who last staged Julius Caesar for the company, will direct.
The season in the smaller Swan Theatre will feature the world premiere of two RSC commissions: David Edgar's Written on the Heart will begin performances Oct. 27, prior to an official opening Nov. 2, for a run in rep to March 10, and Helen Edmundson's The Heresy of Love will begin performances Feb. 2, prior to an official opening Feb. 8, for a run to March 9.
According to press materials, Written on the Heart is an examination of the story behind the King James Bible, which celebrates its 400th anniversary this year. The play explores the legacy of the earliest translators who died for their wish to see a ploughboy read the word of God and the dilemma of Lancelot Andrewes, King James' leading translator, as he confronts the betrayal of his youthful religious ideals for the sake of preferment and peace in a divided society. Greg Doran, chief associate director of the RSC, directs.
The Heresy of Love is inspired by the life of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, the writer of House of Desires that was directed by Nancy Meckler as part of the RSC's Spanish Golden Age season in 2004. Meckler now returns to direct this play, in which Sor Juana’s gift for writing is celebrated by the court, but her success creates fear and jealousy within the church. Her life of faith and learning crumbles around her as the things she holds dear are cruelly destroyed. Also in the Swan, RSC associate director Roxana Silbert will direct her first Shakespeare for the company with a new production of Measure for Measure, beginning performances Nov. 17, prior to an official opening Nov. 23, for a run in rep to March 10.
In a press statement, Michael Boyd, RSC artistic director, commented, "It’s been an extraordinary first few months in our new home. Actors and audiences alike have warmed to the new spaces in ways we had hardly dared dream of. We're looking forward to the first new productions designed specifically for the new Royal Shakespeare Theatre and improved Swan Theatre stages which open our 50th Birthday Season. I'm especially proud that we've been able to put new work at its heart – by revealing hidden riches of our back catalogue and by new commissions. Great writers and directors have always been at the core of the company, shaping our future while being inspired by the classical repertoire, and this season is no exception."
The box office opens for priority members from April 11, with full members from April 13, associate members from May 4, and public booking from May 13. To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 800 1110, or visit www.rsc.org.uk.